How To Be #1: The Trick That Makes Everyone Want To Work With You
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
You’ve probably heard this quote before. It’s Maya Angelou and it’s super popular...
...mostly because it’s super true.
And yet, so many entrepreneurs get hung up on the things people forget.
Is the marketing clever enough? Do I have more experience than the competition? Are my techs charming enough, confident enough, fast enough?
I’m not saying these things don’t matter. You definitely want to do a great job and create a brand that communicates quality.
But the most important thing you can do…
...the thing that makes you everybody’s first choice, from clients to referral partners…
...is to be fully present.
Make the other person feel like their problem is your problem. Their emergency is your emergency. Their goal is your goal. Their success is your success.
As for your emergencies and your goals?
They don’t exist. Not in this moment.
Of course, that’s easy enough to say. Actually putting your own worries out of your mind… that’s a whole other challenge.
Serving Others With Intention
The key to connecting with anyone is intention. You have to make a conscious choice to set your focus on the other person instead of on the monologue constantly running through your mind.
We approach so much of our lives without intention. Sure, we actively decide to check in with a client or an employee, but we tend to carry out these actions on autopilot, using a script we’ve accidentally written through repetition.
While our client tells us what they’re worried about, we nod to show that we’re listening, while in reality, our mind is busy calculating how much profit we might be losing as we stand here waiting for them to finish talking.
When we hear our employee start to say, “I’ve just been so swamped with…” we immediately begin mentally preparing our response… probably something about time management or everybody pulling their weight.
The more effective choice is the one that takes much more conscious effort.
And that is the choice to quiet our own mind so we can really hear what this other person is telling us.
Is your client’s greatest source of stress the fact that water damage is a bad thing… or is she overwhelmed because she’s a new widow who can’t find the insurance paperwork and has never had to navigate this kind of thing on her own before?
Is your employee swamped because he’s not managing time well, or is it because there’s been a miscommunication about job roles and he keeps getting stuck putting out fires you never meant for him to deal with?
When you respond with empathy to another person’s specific struggle, they feel valued and understood. When you help solve their specific problem, you demonstrate that you are as invested in their success as they are.
And it is at this point that they officially stop caring how many years you’ve been in business or what a stranger said about you on Yelp. You care about them. That’s what they need most. So they’re going to give you their best, whether that means their best work as a member of your team or regular referrals when their friends need services like yours.
So, how do you make sure you approach every interaction with intention and empathy?
The 10-Second Journey
I encourage business owners and their teams to work on making the mental transition on that ten-second journey from the truck to the front door.
If you’re interacting with an employee, it could be the journey from your office to theirs. With a potential referral partner, maybe it’s from your car to their office door or from your car to the coffee shop.
Wherever you’re going, whomever you’re meeting, take this brief moment to set down everything that’s on your mind.
Set down the fight you had with your brother last weekend. Set down the burden of covering payroll this month. Set down that genius new marketing idea, your desire to make a profit on this exchange, and your excitement for that big vacation that is only two days away.
Lay it all on the ground along the path that takes you from your life to the life of the person you are about to meet. Greet them with a heart and mind that is curious about their needs.
Now, you will probably struggle to do this on command. I still struggle to make this transition from time to time.
That’s why I recommend exercising the muscle as much as possible.
Find opportunities to practice mindful action. This just means you are fully focused and present with what you’re doing.
Start with something simple that you usually do on autopilot. When you pour a cup of coffee, engage with all your senses. Note how the coffee smells, how it tastes, how it looks and sounds as it fills your cup.
When your kid tells you a story, notice when your mind starts wandering. Don’t be hard on yourself, just realize: “Ah. I’m doing it again. Okay, focusing back on my child now.”
If you’re up for trying it, meditation is a great way to learn how to focus the mind on command and clear out the frantic thoughts that derail your attention. AyaG Meditation created this great meditation for home service professionals that can get you in the right mindset before you leave your truck.
Even if this doesn’t sound like your thing, give it a try. Because I’ll tell you this:
Mindfulness and Intention Make Money
Do you know what inspired me to get into the restoration business?
I was working as a carpet cleaner, and on my first water damage job, I saw how the restoration contractors handled their responsibilities. These techs ran through the motions as quickly as they could so they could get the highest profit from the exchange and move on to the next opportunity.
Meanwhile, the homeowner was overwhelmed, confused, and alone. No one offered compassion or volunteered clarity.
I realized that every property owner in a crisis situation is dealing with two disasters: the physical wreckage of their home or business and their own emotional disaster.
I suspected that if I could create a business around this concept of both physical and emotional restoration, I could stand out in a lucrative field.
And I was right. 911 Restoration is now one of the fastest growing franchises in the U.S., and we’re known specifically for being the Fresh Start company—for presenting new solutions, creating new possibilities, and providing a new beginning for our clients.
You can discover the same success. It just depends on how you choose to spend the 10-second journey from the truck to the front door.
Further Resources on This Topic
Blog Post: 3 Pillars of a Successful Life
Free Video Course: Creating a Business That Makes an Impact